Posted by Larry Johnson on February 09
I’m often asked by both campers and parents what I do at camp during the off season. A lot of campers envision me getting to ride the zip line over and over, playing on the circus, going on a slow ride in the canoes down Little River, or maybe a day of archery or rifelry. As tempting as all of these options sound, even without any campers around camp during the winter, theres always plenty of other responsibilities that keeps me occupied.
Usually each day starts off around 5:30 AM with the most important part of the day…. making coffee and start planning out what has to be done that day.
Being the instructor of our CSR class (Caving, Survival and Rappelling), I’m always eyeing new places to cave or rappel. As a member of the Walker County Fire Department “Cave and Cliff Rescue” team, besides being always on call for incidents that would require our team, we train twice a month on different rescue scenarios at different caves and cliffs in north Georgia. This is a great way to stay sharp with my rope skills and make sure we don’t have any incidents of our own during the summer.
Unfortunately, not all days are as “fun” as the training days. Some days I get to be a delivery guy that involves a trip down to Birmingham to pick up a large projector screen that we just installed in the new Summerplace cabin. (yes, it was supposed to be delivered to camp but that’s a whole other story!)
Speaking of Summerplace, I get to stay busy with that little project also. This includes everything from installing the pre-mentioned projector screen (carrying a 14 foot long screen up 2 flights of stairs and then making a 90 degree turn to fit it through a door was a LOT of fun…..). Some days they let me work a shovel and help spread dirt or carry extra lumber to the real workers. There’s always something to do to make sure Summerplace is finished and ready in time for everyone at the beginning of the summer. I can’t wait for the campers to see their new cabin!
Not all days afford me the opportunity to be outside. There’s plenty of times I “get” to work in the office at my computer. Along with being the chief shovel operator outside, theres also the day to day operations of camp and being the local office IT guy require me to be indoors. Of course there are times when the ladies in the office will have a list of jobs for me to do. It’s a great idea to take care of that first as I don’t want them upset with me, that tends to add to my list…..
Rarely, on a good day, you can find me on a mower mulching leaves around camp (a NEVER ending process), on the tractor or possibly helping cut and split firewood for all the campfires that we’ll have during the summer. Of course several times a week, there always has to be time to stop by Little River Hardware to pick up supplies and hang out with my buddy Cooper Lindsey (husband of “Camp Mom” Mrs. Frances) and get caught up on all the town news. (happy birthday Cooper!!)
One of the more relaxing parts of my time during the off season is Tuesday nights when we all can gather at the counselor favorite, Mentone Market for “Taco Tuesday”. Its a great way to end the day and hang out with some other local camp people.
If only every day could be a Tuesday……
Larry is originally from Florida and graduated from Florida State University (Go Noles!). He taught and coached for 12 years before working full time at camp. During the off season, he heads up the winter retreats and leadership training with sports teams from all across the country. He’s married to Sally (who tries to keep him in line) and is an avid pilot and caver in any free time he can find.